PALEA plans to file case vs gov’t at ILO

Published by rudy Date posted on April 4, 2011

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The ground crew union of local carier Philippine Airlines plans to file a case against the government before the International Labor Organization, citing suppression of its right to collective bargaining.

PAL Employees Association (PALEA) said in a statement on Saturday that it has plans to file a case against the Philippine government at the Geneva-based ILO.

PALEA said it will cite the “government’s suppression of the conventions on the right to self-organization and collective bargaining.”

It added that its complaint “will be stronger with the latest DOLE order as further evidence.”

On late Friday evening, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued a certification order that effectively barred PALEA from staging a nationwide strike aimed at paralyzing the operations of the airline.

The certification order, issued by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, tossed the request of PALEA to go on strike to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) for compulsory arbitration.

About 3,700 PALEA members voted to go on strike last week to protest management’s insistence to first implement its plan to outsource 3 non-core units before starting negotiations on a new CBA.

PALEA, however, stressed that the outsourcing plan will result in the transfer of about 2,600 regular jobs to third party service providers that will result in no or less benefits for the affected employees.

The union also said the outsourcing plan will whittle down the number of their members, weakening them during the CBA negotiations.

Since the labor department and Malacañang have given their separate approvals for PAL to proceed with the outsourcing plan, PALEA said these decisions undermine the workers’ rights.

There were no CBA negotiations between the airlines’ management and labor union in the past 13 years due to PAL’s financial issues, which PALEA said does not apply now. PAL has said it expects to earn $1.6 billion in its next fiscal year.

PAL management has said in various statements that it is unfazed with PALEA’s plan to stage a strike since it has contingency measures in place.

It also stressed that a PALEA’s strike now is “premature and illegal” since PALEA is not following procedures. It said conciliation efforts are still ongoing before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB).

The ILO is an agency of the United Nations that draw up and oversee international labor standards. It brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to shape policies and programs promoting decent work.

The Philipppines is a member state of the ILO. –

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